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Interview with Swen Vincke at PC Gamer

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Interview with Swen Vincke at PC Gamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 12 July 2014, 17:38:07

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

With Divinity: Original Sin receiving rave reviews across the board, the folks at PC Gamer have done a short interview with Swen Vincke about the game's near-term future and patch timetable. There's also some discussion of its oldschool and, interestingly enough, multiplayer-centric design principles. Here's an excerpt:

PCG: What kind of things are you looking at in the big update?

Vincke: We basically have two types of things. We're doing hotfixes where we see problems that we can fix right away for people, and then the patch will contain some extra content. Balancing fixes. We'll introduce the AI personalities—that was one feature that didn't make it fully for release. [Right now] you only have no personality or random personality, which is rather clunky to play with, or the loyal personality which basically does everything you do. We will add five or six AI personalities, and they have distinct opinions about things, and so it's basically your partner. [And] people will be able to create their own personalities.

They make decisions based on certain type of personality, and it makes the game quite different, actually, because then it's really like playing with a human being, to a certain extent.

PCG: Can you go into a little more detail on the kind of personalities that you're shipping in the update?

Vincke: We'll have a knight. That's what you can imagine. Then we'll have a rascal, a maniac, a judge— somebody who's very judgmental—a priest, and a free-spirit, They basically all have different traits that they prefer.

If you put in, let's say, a judgmental character, who would for instance refuse to hire a companion, that's a very big impact on your game right there. If you role-play through that, that really changes your game. It's something that can happen in multiplayer also, right? It's basically what we're trying to do. This gives single-players the feeling of what you get in co-op multiplayer, when you deal with the actions of somebody else.

PCG: Did you guys have a sense of the right way for someone to try to play this game? Is it really designed for multiplayer or is it designed to be single-player and the multiplayer is just a bonus for people who want to make that commitment?

Vincke: It's been designed from the bottom-up with the multiplayer in mind, under the motto that the multiplayer will make the single-player stronger. That sounds strange, so allow me to explain that.

If you make enough RPG like this, in which the party can split up at any time, and each player can do whatever he wants, there is an enormous amount of contingencies that you have to put in place, or you have to come up with a very systemic system which is pretty much what we've done. You have to make sure that whatever storytelling you're trying to do it will work no matter what the players are going to do.

[...] When you're playing it in multiplayer you can be rest assured that becomes very unpredictable, what people are doing. A lot of the development effort was actually focused around that. I'm really happy that we've done it, because typically people always say it dumbs a game down, the fact that you have the multiplayer, and I think in our case it actually strengthens it.

We didn't talk about quests at some point anymore. We just talked about situations which occurred, that players could encounter, and there was no right or not wrong way of doing it. It was just something that happens on your journey. So my advice to anybody doing an RPG would be, "Make a multiplayer version out of it."

PCG: Are there plans for expansions or DLC or massive content updates?

Vincke: We are going to add a number of extra companions. There were planned to be more companions, but just the deadline and production realities, that's too hard to be able to include this, so that's going to come in August, the extra companions. They will be probably more fleshed-out than the ones that are in there now, so a lot of effort is being put into that.

Then beyond that, to be honest, I told you at the beginning of our conversation that this was “all-in,” so we didn't really make any concrete plans. We obviously have lots of ideas, but there are no concrete sense of what we're going to do, so we're going to finish this patch, do a couple of more hotfixes and then probably we're going to take a break, and then I think at that we're going to spend August figuring out where to next, with the RPG that we're going to be making. Then we will announce it with a lot of fanfare and so forth.​

So, those of you who were postponing your playthrough until the companions were complete should clear your schedules for August.

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